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It could be anyone


“It’s personal, private and so deeply difficult,” said the mother, an attorney who spoke with students in the NDSU College of Health Professions. Mary Locken and her two sons shared their family’s path as they fought opioid addiction. They speak publicly to help others. 

Her sons, once high-achieving students, experienced drug overdose, served prison time and sought substance abuse treatment. 

Their perspectives were shared with a group of NDSU nursing students, who also learned from a narcotics investigator, family nurse practitioner and director of the mayor’s commission on substance abuse. 

“Students entering nursing face this crisis on the forefront, directly working with patients,” said Alexis Hanson, assistant professor of practice in the School of Nursing who organized the Opioid Crisis Awareness Day. 

The program is part of the College of Health Professions’ commitment to help communities and prepare future health care professionals in pharmacy, nursing, public health and allied sciences. 

Pharmacy faculty members Heidi Eukel and Mark Strand developed the Opioid Misuse Risk Prevention Toolkit, providing it to pharmacists through a free 3-hour continuing education seminar. 

The training and toolkit cover: the science of addiction; an Opioid Risk Tool to identify patients at risk of opioid misuse; information on naloxone to combat overdoses; and a community support services summary for patients who need resources. 

The FM Area Foundation and North Dakota Board of Pharmacy funded the initial project. Plans are underway to provide the free 3-hour continuing education and toolkit through live and downloadable video formats if additional funding is secured. 

Controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in the state jumped nearly 60 percent from 2008 to 2015. From 2015 to 2017, the number decreased 13 percent and the number of opioid prescriptions dropped 19 percent, according to data from the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy. 

Projects such as the training and toolkit help pharmacists play a key role to further help their communities. 

“This project is a worthwhile initiative and it is an opportune time to engage community pharmacists in this issue,” said Mark Hardy, NDSU School of Pharmacy alumnus and executive director of the State Board of Pharmacy. 

Student Lauren Gietzen who attended Opioid Crisis Awareness offered her perspective. “We need to get rid of the stigma and stereotype of opioid abusers and realize that it is affecting everyone including teachers, doctors, police officers, grandparents, etc.” 

“We are collaborating with many groups,” said Charles Peterson, dean of the College of Health Professions. “Helping students understand this challenge helps prepare them to care for patients in the future.” 

As nursing student Jordan Afdahl said after the event, “I hope to bring forth compassion, understanding, and providing resources to the client.”

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May 4, 2018
5:00 p.m.
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1:30 p.m.
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Pharm.D. Hooding Ceremony
May 11, 2018
10:00 a.m.
NDSU Festival Concert Hall

Commencement Ceremony
May 12, 2018
2:00 p.m.

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Last Updated: Friday, August 30, 2019 3:34:28 PM
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